Ombre, Sombre and Colormelt? How Do They Differ?


One of MODERN's favorite artist, Gina Bianca (@The_Hair_Doctor) is regularly asked "What is the difference when comparing Ombre, Sombre and Colormelt?"

When Bianca mentioned she was working on a story to better explain the three looks, we asked to share with YOU! Here is the wonderful result:


Every day in the salon we are performing color services that originated from Ombrè! Many people say ombrè is going out of style but at the end of the day, all of the new techniques that have been coming out are just different variations of ombrè. There are a few minor differences, but the main point is that people love low maintenance color, they love keeping their deeper roots and having lighter ends (the best of both worlds)  and they love having a style they can tweak here and there to create a new look.

Ombrè isn’t going anywhere. 80% of my color business in my salon (Gina Bianca Hair in Southington, Connecticut) consists of some variation of the trend. And no, its not just random girls from the sticks. Clients from New York, Boston and all over the east coast flock to us because we specialize in contemporary hair color and Ombrè. People love it and we aren’t complaining! The reason it is so popular is because women of all ages can wear it, and there are so many different ways to do the technique. I personally have never taken an ombrè class. I use the texture of the hair, hair history and the desired goal to determine my approach to each technique.  I use multiple customized techniques to get the client where she wants to go.

If you are interested in education please inquire by emailing


Here are a few similarities and differences of ombre, colormelt and sombre:


Similarities of all techniques:

* Low maintenance

* Versatile

* Worn best on long, wavy or curled hair but can be customized for any length of hair

* Great for all textures

* May take two or more sessions to achieve

* Easily changed when look is achieved

* Can be dramatic, fashion forward or natural


Ombrè Characteristics:

* Little to no highlights at the root

* Dark roots to light ends

* Desired goal is natural, low maintenance and has natural tones

* Consists of a base color, background color & highlight color

* Suggested Pricing $125+


Sombré Characteristics:

* Lighter version of ombrè on all levels

* Highlights feather off the root make sombrè softer than ombrè and color melt

* Softer transition from dark to light

* Highlights frame the face then gradually feather farther and farther off the root to create a “round color placement”

* Suggested Pricing $150+


Color Melt Characteristics:

* Made up of 3 or more colors

* Can be achieved using dark to light or light to dark

* Colors used must be in similar or the same color families to achieve maximum blending

* Colors are overlapped so they create seamless flow

* You cant tell where one color begins and ends

* Suggested $175+


Bianca offers that there are things for everyone to consider and talk about during the consultation. Here she shares points of discussion for both the artist and client:


Budget:  You can’t get lobster on a catfish budget. Make sure you and your client discuss the cost of the service up front.


Maintenance: Ombrè and Sombrè are generally low maintenance, but remember to discuss tones that are close to what is present in your client's hair. Many people ask for dark roots and lighter ends, but forget they have an ashy level 7 growing in, which makes ombrè high maintenance instead!


Desired Tones VS Reality:

Arguably the most important point when consulting with your guest: Reality VS “The Picture”

Remember that the tones in the pic your client brings in may not go well with the complexion she has. 80% of the time my clients ask for ash and then say their hair is too dark – they don’t understand that warm colors are more reflective than cooler tones. It drives me NUTS, but it just makes me better at consulting.


Color Corrections:

If your client has previous color, box color or an all over dark brown-black shade, prepare for a color correction. Ombrè, Sombrè and color melt require multi dimensional blending application to be achieved.  This means that there needs to be a base color, background color and a highlight to be achieved. It usually will take bleaching/color removal, and multiple sessions. Be patient, the end result is worth the wait, for both of you!





For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.